02/10/2023 Jeff Hemsley

Date: February 10, 2023

Time: 1:00 PM

Room: Luddy Auditorium

Jeff Hemsley, Associate Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University.

Topic: Curating Virality: Exploring Curated Logics Within #BlackLivesMatter on Twitter

Abstract: Social media actors have different degrees of influence over the flow of information in our social networks. And these actors face different incentives and norms depending on that play a role in what they choose to share. That is, they use different “curation logics” and so probable will share different types of content. In this early-stage work, we look at the sharing behavior of Twitter actors within the context of the #BlackLivesMatter social movement and its related discussions #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter during Black History Month (February) 2022. Previous literature has categorizing actors who play an outsized role in the flow of information as gatekeepers, influencers and/or opinion leaders. We examine these different concepts while exploring their curation logics. For this work, we employed qualitative content analysis and machine learning to classify message types, and then analyzed actor’s curation behavior. Our work suggests that different levels of actors do tend to curate different types of messages and that different types of messages tend to get more attention depending if the tweet is within #All/Black/BlueLivesMatter discussion space. This research contributes to updating the theories of curated logics and virality, in part by examining which concept (gatekeepers, influencers and/or opinion leaders) seems to fit best for this kind of work.

Bio: Jeff Hemsley i s a n A ssociate Professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse
University and an Associate Editor at the Journal of Information Technology and Politics. He was the Director of the Center for Computational and Data Sciences at the iSchool until recently. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Washington’s Information School. His research is about understanding information diffusion,
particularly in the context of politics or social movements, in social media. He is co-author of the book Going Viral (Polity Press, 2013 and winner of ASIS&T Best Science Books of 2014 Information award and selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2014), which explains what virality is, how it works technologically and socially, and draws out the implications of this process for social change. He works with excellent PhD students and publishes in journals such as Social Media and Society, the Journal of Information Technology and Politics, and Policy and Internet.